Electric Soul – Second Paradise – Album Review
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Style: Rock, fusion, progressive, funk, psychedelic.
Release Date: September 3, 2012
Electric Soul formed in Winnipeg in the summer of 2011. The band consists of Ed Durocher on guitar and vocals, Dave Guenette on keys, vocals and percussion, Chris Tuschcherer on bass and Joey Decosse on drums. In May of 2012 the band released an EP titled The Light That Burns Beneath, but the band was unimpressed with their work and set out to make another record.
In January of 2013 the band stepped into Bedside Studios with Lenny Milne and began recording some sessions. Since then they have released Second Paradise, have started prepping for a tour and are already planning the early stages of a second full length. But for now the focus is on their new album.
Second Paradise opens with the epic and lengthy “Desert Islands”. The first track is over 7 minutes long and is laden with heavily distorted riffs and layered dynamics making for a powerful introduction to the album. “Oh Sparrow” is a great follow up tune, showcasing the band’s funk abilities.
The third track on the album is “Amber Rose” a track layered in psychedelic ambiance, which creates an interesting contrast from the first couple of songs on the album. The first three songs of Second Paradise are unique in their own way; this vast range is a great introduction to the versatility of the band and their willingness to combine and mix different styles and genres.
“Stranded Cities” has a killer opening guitar riff and an interesting keyboard melody that compliment the tight groove of the bass and drums. “February” has an incredible introduction, but the progression of the song eventually felt redundant and something didn’t seem right with the vocals. This was the first indication on the album that the band needs to work a little more on syncing melodies with their vocals.
“Oceans of Rust”, “Keep Away” and “Vagabond Sighs” continue to showcase the band’s willingness to combine the likes of funk, blues, and Hendrix inspired guitar riffs. In particular, “Vagabond Sighs” is an excellent example of the band’s versatility and is one of my favourite tracks off the album.
“The Fountain” brings the tempo of the album back up, showcasing feedback and shredding guitar solos that will please most guitar enthusiasts. “Animals” also has some very impressive guitar, bass and drum work, but again something about the vocals didn’t seem to fit. The timing and pitch of the singing seemed off and I found it distracting from the other elements of the song.
The album concludes with “Dreams (Burning through the night)” a track that best summarizes the edge and grit of Electric Soul. “Dreams” is another personal favourite of mine and is a great way to end a solid staple of work.
Overall, Second Paradise is a strong album by a band that is on the verge of honing in on its own sound. The album is an experiment in exploring their numerous influences, creating some very unique and interesting stylistic blends. The work is also a lot of fun to listen to, as the contrast in dynamics at times often had me grinning in delight.
That said, there is some work to be done if Electric Soul wishes to reach any mainstream success. The guitar, bass and drums were all very tight, but the vocals and keyboards needs some work. In particular some of the songs core melodies clash with the keyboard tones and the style of singing seemed off-putting in places.
Ultimately, Second Paradise is strongest at its beginning and end, with some weak points in the middle. But the album is a great start to a promising career for Electric Soul. Their style of implementing elements of jazz, rock, psychedelics, blues and other various influences is a refreshing reminder that bands are still willing to explore the roots of rock. Electric Soul are on the verge of discovering themselves and it’s journey a worth listening to.
By: Ty Hooper